Martinsville Top Ten

Martinsville is my favorite track on the Cup Circuit! I am a big fan of Short track racing. I can’t remember a more anticipated race in years. NASCAR clearly has hit on something with this current format.

There are a lot of questions going into the race. Will Matt get even with Joey? Will everyone get even with Harvick? Honestly I don’t see that happening at least not in any overt way.

The more important question is, will a chaser win and punch his ticket to Homestead? I say yes. Here are my top 10.

10. Dale Jr

9. Brad Keselowski

8. Martin Truex Jr

7. Jimmie Johnson

6. Kurt Busch

5. Kyle Busch

4. Carl Edwards

3. Logano

2. Kevin Harvick

1. Jeff Gordon

Not terribly exciting I know but let’s be realistic. A lot of people would like to see someone spin Harvick after what happened last week. Nobody will! Not this week. For the most part these guys get it. They won’t do anything to hurt the sport. The only guy who may do something like that is the one everybody is upset with.

Matt may get Joey at some point but not this year. Matt is a pro, he won’t blemish the chase either.

Thanks for your time. We’ll see how I did on Monday.

NASCAR, Sports, the chase

Joey, Joey, Joey

Last week I wrote a post about the get together between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth at Kansas.  This week at Talladega things heated up between the two of them again when Matt felt Joey pulled in front of him and brake checked him.  Matt, on his in car radio, said “Tell the 22 I’m gonna knock him out after the race.  Tell him to hide behind his daddy.”

Joey is getting to them.  He is good, very good having now won three in a row and six overall in 2015.  He is a good driver in good equipment and I believe the other drivers, both those still in the chase and out, believe he will win the Championship.  Joey has come in to his own and I believe this signals a changing of the guard in NASCAR.  A change that may have started when his teammate Brad Keselowski, at the age of 28, won the 2012 Sprint Cup Championship.  The change was made even more clear when Jeff Gordon announced his retirement last year and Tony Stewart did the same this.

You have heard the expression, “Father Time is Undefeated.  I believe this is true in all sports and all occupations to some extent.  Sure in NASCAR an athlete has a little longer career than athletes in other sports and can even remain competitive into their 40’s but still they begin to slip.

The driver who I believe may be the best that NASCAR has ever seen, Jimmie Johnson, is now 40 and while I would like to see him win another Championship or two time is running out on that possibility.  Also over 40 are Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, and Dale Jr.  Drivers like Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch,  and Carl Edwards are staring the age in the face with Harvick being 39.

It is the natural way of things.  These were the young drivers just a moment ago or at least it seems like it.  We don’t want to see them go or their skills decline but we have little choice.  Jimmie, Jeff, Kurt, and Matt have won Cup Championships the others have had great careers with many wins, made millions of dollars and live the kind of life most can only dream of but they will need to make way.

Joey, Kyle (yes still only 30), Kyle Larson, Chase Elliot, Ryan Blaney, and Eric Jones will be taking their place soon.  They are young and hungry and young and young.  They don’t have that thought in the back of their minds that maybe it would be better to be at home or at the beach with their family right now.  The only thing that is on their mind is winning.

So I can see why Matt is upset, he still wants to win and maybe he sees himself passing him when he sees Joey?

Thanks for your time, talk to you soon.

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Hendrick Motorsports, Class Organization

I am going to miss Jeff Gordon, a lot! Not just because of what a great driver he has been for 2 plus decades but because of how he conducts his business. In an era where we are bombarded with reports of Domestic Abuse, DUIs, Arrests, and other nefarious acts carried out by our athletes he is a great example to everyone how athletes should act. Jeff has seen more success than most on the track. He has also had his disappointments and that is when he has shown the best of himself. Sure he has gotten angry over the years, had run ins with other drivers but not too many. However, no matter what happens he climbs from his car and treats everyone he talks to with respect. He gets it! He understands how fortunate he is to get to do what he does. Most importantly he understands the responsibility that comes with that.

We will still have Jimmie and Jr, at least for a little longer. Kasey will be there and here comes Chase Elliot. All class acts as well.

What do they all have in common besides being classy athletes? They drive for Hendrick Motorsports. There isn’t enough coincidence in the world to think that the two aren’t related. I don’t think Mr. H would have anyone drive for him who doesn’t get it. Remember Kyle’s brief stay at HMS? HMS has done a lot of winning since 1984 but some things are more important than winning. Conducting yourself in the right way and treating others with respect are two of them.

Thanks Mr H for giving us great drivers who are also good people!

Thanks for your time, talk to you soon.


Only one Attempt?

So I planned to write about how accurate my predictions were from Talladega. Not too good really as you can see for yourself. Kurt finished 10th which is the only finish I got right. However, I did accurately predict 6 of the 8 transfers into the next round.

Enough on that though. I want to talk about the finish. Last week NASCAR decided to only allow one “attempt” at the Green, White, Checker at Dega. I wasn’t a fan of the idea but they said it was for safety and who can argue against that.

So when they lined up for the first and only attempt at the GWC and dropped the rag I was a little confused with what happened next. The 48 and 42 tangled and spun and the yellow came out. Race over right? Not so fast. NASCAR said it wasn’t an attempt because the lead cars hadn’t reached the Start/Finish line. So they lined them up again for the “first attempt” and started the race again. This time when a wreck happened back in the pack there was a long time until the yellow was displayed.

C’mon NASCAR. It’s insulting to us when you tell us things like “that wasn’t an attempt.” Sure it was. It just wasn’t entertaining enough so you said it wasn’t. You didn’t want to look bad while implementing your new rule but in the end you look worse. It was such an entertaining race with so many stories and sub stories, mostly linked to the chase. Then what happens? You mess up the end of the story.

Worst of all it allowed Kevin Harvick to cheat by intentionally wrecking the 6 to bring out that yellow and maintaining his spot in the chase. His engine was done, he was out! The in car camera clearly shows him turn right into the 6. His crew chief clearly told him what needed to be done, it could be heard on their radio communications. Did you see him try to get away from the interview at the end?

I am a fan, always will be but NACAR you gotta do better and you gotta penalize the 4.

Thanks for your time, talk to you soon.

NASCAR, prediction, Talladega, the chase

Talladega Top Ten

So here we go, the much anticipated Talladega elimination race.  After Sunday we will have only 8 drivers remaining who can win the Sprint Cup Championship.  A couple Fan favorites, JR and Kenseth pretty much need to win to move on.

Here is an interesting fact.  The Talladega Chase Race, since 2004, has been won by chasers only 6 of 11 times.  So there is a good chance a driver outside the chase can win it, but they won’t.

This is only the 2nd year of this Chase format and last year Brad Keselowski won, he had to, and moved on.  I’m predicting a similar situation Sunday.  However I’m also predicting some major disappointment.

So here we go:

10 Kurt Bush

Kurt has been Mr Steady and that won’t change Sunday.  He doesn’t need to win and so won’t put himself in a position to wreck trying to at the end of the race.

9 Kevin Harvick

Kevin will be spending the last few laps with Kurt.  He moves in from this position.

8 Austin Dillon

Have you noticed the RCR cars have been getting faster?  Austin is good at plate tracks.  Look for him to keep the 3 up front most of the day spoiling some chase hopes.

7 Denny Hamlin

Denny will work with a Teammate to help him get a win but in the end this is as close to the front as he will get.

6 Matt Kenseth

Sorry Matt, Denny gave it a shot, you had fast cars but just not fast enough.

5 Jeff Gordon

Jeff isn’t ready to quit just yet.  He won’t have the fastest car all day but Hendrick power will be strong.

4 Joey Logano

The winner of the last two races helps make sure his teammate gets to the round of 8.  Penske cars will be a factor through Homestead.

3 Brad Keselowski

He and Joey will stay up front all day.  Joey will help again this year.  It won’t be a win but it will be enough.

2 Jimmie Johnson

Remember 2011?  He doesn’t owe him one anymore.

1 Dale Earnhardt Jr

Nobody drives Dega like Jr.  He will be in 4th coming into the Tri Oval.  Jimmie finds him and pushes him past the 2 and 22.  Jr Stays alive.

Hard luck in the chase will continue for Kyle Bush and Carl Edwards. They get turned around late in the race when Carl tries to push Kyle on a restart and stacks up the field.  Hamlin is lone remaining JGR car.

Ryan Newman’s engine blows up early in the race.

Gordon, Jr, Hamlin, Harvick, Kurt Bush, Brad, Joey all move on as does Truex Jr who finishes 12th.

Thanks for your time.  We will see how close I am on Monday

Kurt Busch, NASCAR, Sports

Kurt Busch Speaks His Mind

Yesterday we found out  Kurt Busch has signed a Multi Year contract extension with Stewart Haas Racing.  Of course that was the official announcement.  News of the deal had actually been swirling around for weeks.  I read the reports of the deal on various news sources and listened live to the News Conference on the radio.  As I did something crossed my mind.

Kurt Busch has finally learned to speak his mind.

This may sound strange to you because as we know Kurt has been saying things that would lead you to believe this has been the case for a very long time.  He has been famous or infamous for saying things that have gotten him into a lot of trouble.  He seemed to enjoy being this way right?  After all wasn’t he the “Outlaw”.  He even had a show on the SPEED Channel announcing him as such.  I remember watching that, what I could of it, and thinking that it wasn’t the best idea.

In 2011 while driving for Team Penske his outburst directed toward Dr. Jerry Punch was recorded on camera.  Shortly after he and Penske “agreed to part ways.”  This set Kurt on a four year journey during which he was an unsponsored driver.  From Phoenix Racing to Furniture Row to Stewart Haas.  All of these owners had two things in common.  They understood the incredible talent Kurt would bring to their cars and they sponsored the car themselves meaning they wouldn’t have to sell the “Outlaw” to sponsors.

Now, I really believe that prior to 2011 Kurt did and said things that we would all at times like to say.  He really said what he thought without filter.  I also really believe that about that time Kurt realized that he would need to “learn” to speak his mind.  Thats right, he learned it.  Now he says the things that we think he ought to say which they probably are.  The truth is you can’t say the things that Kurt said to Jerry Punch, even if that is how you feel, without repercussions. The world just doesn’t work that way, especially not for someone in the public eye and who has given people reason to dislike them in the past.

I am glad Kurt has a sponsor.  Monster Energy seems to be a good match.  I am glad he will be driving for the next several years for Stewart Haas.  I think NASCAR is a better series when he is in it, he is a great driver.  However, there is part of me that misses the old Kurt, the one who hadn’t learned to speak his mind.  I don’t want to hear him berate his crew chief although I think Tony Gibson has taken care of that.  I do want to hear someone say what they really think, the emotion of what is on their minds.  I guess we will have to settle for Kurt speaking his mind.


Spin and Win

So I wondered how long it would take for someone to put a name on the move Joey Logano put on Matt Kenseth to win at Kansas on Sunday.  The answer?  Not very long at all.  Yesterday I heard it referred to as “The Spin to Win”.

i think that is as an appropriate name as any for what happened.  Now let me preface my opinion, and that’s all any of these posts are, with this fact.  I like Joey Logano, I have a picture of he and I in my home.  Five years ago Joey drove a car owned by someone I know in a charity Late Model race.  I sponsored the car and spent the day in the pits watching Joey get ready for the race.  He would have been 20 then but a very serious and seemingly nervous 20.  Many of his Cup counterparts were in the race.  Stewart, Kyle, and Harvick had cars in the race and were pitted near Joey’s car.  It wasn’t a particularly friendly atmosphere.

I remember thinking how young he seemed, and he was.  I also remember how badly I wanted him to win.  Not because my logo was on his hood but because I had a sense that he was amongst competitors who maybe didn’t like him so much.  Why?  Probably for a lot of reasons but mostly because he was a threat to them.  For years he had been touted as the next great driver.  Remember “Sliced Bread?”

Joey didn’t win that Late Model race but he won the Kansas race this past Sunday.  As a matter of fact he has now won 10 races in the past two seasons.  That is more than any other driver in the Cup series during that same time.  I like the way he won Kansas.  I like what he did to Matt.  It is COMPETITION!  What was Matt doing running Joey up the track and into the fence?  He was trying to win, he shouldn’t have been surprised when Joey moved him to win, he was doing the same thing.

I like Joey, I don’t care if his family is wealthy and that along with his incredible talent helped him get into the series.  Get over that folks.  If you or I worked hard and put in the time like Joey’s dad we could be rich too, we didn’t so be mad at yourself if you want to be mad at someone.

Joey got pushed around a lot during his first few years in the series, I don’t think that is going to happen anymore.

Thanks for your time, talk to you soon.

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